December 11, 2015

New Mexico unlikely to see big changes under No Child rewrite -- Santa Fe New Mexican

Teachers unions and critics of the federal No Child Left Behind Act are celebrating the passage of the sweeping new Every Student Succeeds Act, which they see as an end to federal mandates for standardized testing and teacher evaluations.

In New Mexico, however, the bill’s passage may lead to very little change in public education.

State Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said the bill — approved by both the U.S. House and Senate and signed into law Thursday by President Barack Obama — is “a good one” that reinforces much of what her department is already doing. -- 12/11/2015


After No Child Left Behind, What’s Next For New Mexico Schools? -- KUNM

This week President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, replacing the controversial No Child Left Behind Act. The new law gets rid of many of the standardized testing requirements that had been in place under No Child Left Behind, and gives states more leeway in designing their own education standards.

Public Health New Mexico spoke to U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, who supported the bill, about what the changes mean for our state. -- 12/11/2015


Report: LANL lacks program to track, correct serious problems -- Santa Fe New Mexican

A new report says federal officials lack an effective program for tracking and fixing safety problems, including “high risk deficiencies,” at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The report, released this week by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General, says the National Nuclear Security Administration’s field office that oversees the department’s contract with the lab has not implemented an effective issues management program. Such a program helps identify and correct safety and health deficiencies raised by employees and contractors or in external audits of the office, the report states, so the Department of Energy can “ensure environment, safety, and health concerns.” -- 12/11/2015


State Engineer’s Office ordered to cover court costs in water case -- Santa Fe New Mexican

The New Mexico Court of Appeals this week said the State Engineer’s Office must pay a Santa Fe-based company’s court costs in a dispute over the transfer of water rights from a Socorro farm to a river diversion project on the Rio Grande near Santa Fe.

Wednesday’s ruling could cost the Office of the State Engineer more than $60,000 to pay for expert witnesses, filing and other costs related to the case in which Santa Fe Water Resource Alliance successfully sought to move rights to millions of gallons from the Central New Mexico farm to the Buckman Direct Diversion near Santa Fe. The transfer helped the Rancho Viejo subdivision south of Santa Fe meet Santa Fe County requirements for the developer to provide water rights in order to get approval to build. -- 12/11/2015


Manhattan Project National Park prompts debate over nukes -- Albuquerque Journal

The Manhattan Project National Park, recently established in Los Alamos and at other sites around the country, already is producing some deep debate over the legacy of the creation of nuclear weapons.

In no less than the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists – which describes itself as founded in 1945 by Manhattan Project scientists who “could not remain aloof to the consequences of their work” – dueling essays discuss the national park’s creation and what the Manhattan Project has meant to the world. -- 12/11/2015



Real ID Act won’t affect Los Alamos workers, visitors -- Albuquerque Journal

Workers and visitors at Los Alamos National Laboratory won’t be affected by the looming clampdown on accepting New Mexico driver’s licenses as identification, according to lab officials.

The lab said in a statement that workers have Department of Energy-approved badges for which they’ve already shown a photo ID and a birth certificate; short-term workers are provided generic badges and are escorted at all times; and visitors also are escorted by badged employees. Those measures mitigate Real ID concerns, the statement said.

Motorists on Jemez Road, which cuts through lab property and leads to the Valles Caldera National Preserve and other destinations, can continue to show New Mexico licenses for ID at the security checkpoint because it’s a public road, according to the lab statement.

The situation is different at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. Almost all of it is located on Kirtland Air Force Base, and it’s accessed through the base gates.  -- 12/11/2015